Living With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Changing your diet, reducing stress, and eliminating nicotine are several options that may help reduce your symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). When learning how to live with IBS, it is important to understand what situations make your symptoms worse. Because stress and certain foods can worsen symptoms, techniques such as counseling, meditation, and avoiding certain foods can help alleviate IBS symptoms.
An Overview of Living With Irritable Bowel SyndromeDealing with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be challenging. However, there are a few lifestyle changes that may help decrease the impact of this condition. Often, these lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment for IBS. They include:
- Reducing stress
- Changing your diet
- Eliminating nicotine
Stress is a common trigger for IBS symptoms. Many events, such as family problems or the death of a loved one, can cause obvious stress. Also, everyday events like getting stuck in traffic can also stress your body.
Many people experience digestive problems because of anxiety or stress. However, the intestines of someone with irritable bowel syndrome tend to be more sensitive to emotional stress, so it can cause even more severe symptoms.
Although the connection between stress and IBS isn't well understood, learning some new ways to manage stress may relieve your symptoms.
Some of the things you might try to relieve stress include:
- Regular exercise
- Getting regular massages
- Deep-breathing techniques
- Setting aside time to do the things you enjoy
- Biofeedback, which teaches you to use your thoughts to control things such as muscle tension and heart rate.
For people with irritable bowel syndrome, diet choices can help relieve some of the symptoms of IBS. Things like drinking plenty of water, consuming more fiber, and eating fewer dairy products can be an effective part of an IBS diet. It is also important to eat slowly to avoid getting gas.
(Click Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diet for more information on diet changes with IBS.)